Trained as a painter, Melanie Smith explores the expanded field of painting and its relation to the moving image. CAST presents a looped installation of Maria Elena (2018), one of two films that Smith visited Helston to present in a one-off screening for CAST Film Club in March.
Maria Elena was first presented at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and at the Liverpool Biennial in 2018. The work takes its title from a town situated in the Atacama Desert, one of the world’s driest deserts. It continues Smith’s interest in landscapes marked by industrial development in the Americas during the twentieth century; the settlement of Maria Elena is connected to the oldest salt mine in Chile, which was owned by the Guggenheim family in the 1920s.
Melanie Smith lived for 29 years in Mexico City, but is currently living in London. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennial and MACBA, Barcelona (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016); Tamayo Museum, Mexico City (2015) and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2014). In 2011 she represented Mexico at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Maria Elena is presented at CAST as part of a programme of international artists’ films relating to landscape and portraiture. ‘Echoes and Returns’ looks back to moving image presentations at CAST in the last year, providing opportunities to see work by some of the artists shown in Groundwork and as part of the CAST Film Club series. Film installations by Melanie Smith, Francis Alÿs and Manon de Boer will each be shown for three weeks in CAST’s black box projection space.
This programme is made possible thanks to the generous support of Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange